Financial Tips for High School Seniors
Updated: Mar 29
Graduating from high school and going to college is an exciting time. You are about to enter a new phase in your life that is full of possibilities. But it is also a time when you need to start thinking about your finances. You don't want to start your adult life with a lot of debt or without a plan for managing your money. Here are some important things to consider to be financially independent and start building wealth.
Understand the costs
Going to college is expensive. It's important to understand the costs associated with attending college, such as tuition, fees, room and board, textbooks, and transportation. Make a list of all the expenses you will incur while attending college and make a budget plan to manage your finances accordingly.
Explore your options for financial aid
There are many options for financial aid, including scholarships, grants, work-study programs, and loans. Start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which will determine your eligibility for federal and state financial aid programs. Be sure to research and apply for scholarships and grants that match your qualifications and interests. Read the article on taking out student loans to learn more.
Manage your spending
College life can be expensive, but it's important to manage your spending wisely. Avoid overspending on unnecessary things and create a budget for your day-to-day expenses, such as food and entertainment. Use your student ID to take advantage of discounts and deals offered by local businesses.
Open a bank account and start saving
Opening a bank account can help you keep track of your finances and save money. Choose a bank that offers low fees and has convenient ATM locations on or near campus. Start a savings account and set aside a portion of your income to build up an emergency fund and save for future goals.
Use credit cards wisely
Credit cards can be a useful tool, but they can also be a source of debt if not used responsibly. Only use credit cards for emergencies or when you know you can pay off the balance in full each month. Avoid overspending and high-interest rates.
You want to start using a credit card as soon as you can because it helps your build or credit score. The length of time you've had the account and the debt utilization both heavily effect your credit score, which you will want to be high when one day you consider buying a home or other investments.
Plan for the future
It's never too early to start planning for your future. Create a financial plan that includes short- and long-term goals, such as saving for a car, a down payment on a house, or retirement. Start investing in a retirement account as soon as possible to take advantage of compound interest.
This is where I encourage you to find someone you trust to sit down and talk through what you can be doing right now to plan and save for your future. Seek out advice and counsel.
In summary, graduating from high school and going to college is an exciting time, but it's important to start thinking about your finances. Understand the costs, explore your options for financial aid, manage your spending, open a bank account and start saving, use credit cards wisely, and plan for the future. By following these tips, you can be financially independent and start building wealth.